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What's red and blue and hairy?

First, there was Mr Prescott's bruising encounter with a bloke with a mullet cut. Then another scare for New Labour as Tony's coiffure got caught in the wind, giving him that oh-so-reliable Ken Dodd look. Finally, Labour hit back with posters picturing Hague in a Thatcher hairstyle shocker."Be afraid, be very afraid," they said, and we were.

They told us the election was about education, tax and Europe but, as the dust settles on the campaign, it becomes clear that the major fighting ground was actually hair.

And, underlying all these minor swings was one big hair issue, according to a ground-breaking report from Children's Express, a learning-trough-journalism scheme for 8 to 18-year-olds. The report marked party leaders out of 10 on everything from"street cred" to"grasp of subject matter". After interviews with its reporters, it gave Blair a clear lead. The crucial factor? Hague was just a "bald Yorkshireman" who"could do with a better haircut", they said, marking him down to four out of 10 on the crucial"street cred".

Of course, the unfortunate Tory leader has limited options in the hair department (unlike that damned Tony who, despite attacks from the left and right, is holding ground in the centre). Can these youngsters really be suggesting a Bobby Charlton-style comb-over?


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